Based on survey data collected by the Global Health and Nutrition Alliance (GHNA) and published in the journal Nutrition Today, 78 percent of respondents agree that omega-3 fatty acids are important for overall health. However, more than half (60 percent) reported they did not think their diet was providing adequate amounts of this key nutrient. Among the U.S. respondents only, 65 percent were unsure if they were getting enough omega-3 in their diet. The survey included more than 3,000 adults (ages 18-66) from the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom (1).
You shouldn’t have to second-guess your intake of this essential nutrient, which you know is critical for the health of your heart and cardiovascular system (2, 3). But before we explain how much you should be getting and how to get it, there are a couple things you should know about them—such as the difference between short- and long-chain omega-3s.
What You Need to Know about Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids come in three main forms. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is the most common short-chain omega-3 and is found mainly in plants and grass-fed animals that eat those plants. eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are the long-chained versions that are found mainly in fish.
The long-chain varieties are most effective for cardiovascular health (2, 3). The human body is unable to convert ALA to EPA and DHA efficiently, so ensuring adequate intake of the long-chain omega-3s is crucial.
It’s for this reason that dietary and medical organizations recommend getting at least two servings per week of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines.
Don’t Second-Guess Yourself
While getting enough fatty fish in a balanced diet is a great way to get long-chained omega-3s, many people fall short. This is where high-quality fish oil supplements such as Isagenix IsaOmega™ can make up the difference as an effective way to ensure adequate omega-3 intake.
Fish oil supplementation really does work. In fact, research evaluating fish oil supplementation indicates that getting omega-3s from a quality fish oil supplement is more effective at boosting omega-3 status than eating fish twice a week (4).
IsaOmega contains over 1 gram of total omega-3 fatty acids (.6 grams EPA and .48 grams DHA) to help ensure you meet omega-3 recommendations. You’ll also be getting quality fish oil, sourced from deep water anchovies and sardines off the coast of Chile, ultra-refined to produce a superior sensory profile (no fishy burps!).
Choosing a fish oil supplement like IsaOmega also means you’ll know that it’s Friend of the Sea certified, which means it’s sourced in a sustainable way for the fish stock and environment.
Why EPA and DHA?
Apart from being good for your heart, recent findings on EPA and DHA give you more reason to ensure adequate intake—brain health and weight management support.
One study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition involving 768 adults (ages 53-73) found that those with the highest average serum levels of EPA and DHA performed significantly better on neuropsychological tests (5). In the study, authors explain that these omega-3s work by increasing the brain’s content of DHA, which is used for structural support of neuronal tissue and cognitive functional support through brain signaling. The fatty acid is also involved in normal maintenance of the brain in aging.
Other research suggests a potential thermogenic effect of DHA- and EPA-containing fish oil both in mice and in humans (6, 7). In 2015, a randomized controlled trial in women found that 3 grams of EPA and DHA daily for 12 weeks had significantly increased resting metabolic rate, energy expenditure during exercise, and fat oxidation at rest and during exercise compared to placebo (7).
- Regan B.L., Denby, N., Haycock, B., Sherif, K., Steinbaum, S., & von Schacky, C. (2015). Perceptions of a Healthy Diet: Insights From a 3-Country Survey. Nutrition Today, 50(6);282-287.
- Soumia P, Sandeep C, Jubbin J. A fish a day, keeps the cardiologist away! – A review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids in the cardiovascular system. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May-Jun; 17(3): 422–429.
- Mozaffarian D, Wu JH. Omega-3 fatty acids and cardiovascular disease: effects on risk factors, molecular pathways, and clinical events. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011 Nov 8;58(20):2047-67.
- Browning LM et al. Compared with Daily, Weekly n–3 PUFA Intake Affects the Incorporation of Eicosapentaenoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acid into Platelets and Mononuclear Cells in Humans. J Nutr. 2014.
- D’Ascoli TA, Mursu J, Voutilainen S, Kauhanen J, Tuomainen T, Virtanen K. Association between serum long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and cognitive performance in elderly men and women: The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2016; doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2016.59
- Kim M, Goto T, Yu R, Uchida K, Tominaga M, Kano Y, Takahashi N, Kawada T. Fish oil intake induces UCP1 upregulation in brown and white adipose tissue via the sympathetic nervous system. Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 17;5:18013.
- Logan SL, Spriet LL. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for 12 Weeks Increases Resting and Exercise Metabolic Rate in Healthy Community-Dwelling Older Females. PLoS One. 2015 Dec 17;10(12):e0144828. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0144828. eCollection 2015.